WITH Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is time to start thinking of the best way to treat the one that you love! Often the most romantic gestures come from putting time and effort into creating something truly special.
Why not treat your loved one to some handmade macaroons? These make a stunning gift and can be wrapped up beautifully in some cellophane and ribbon.
With a few simple tips you can create perfect macaroons – don’t worry I am here to help! I am sharing my recipe for macaroons with passion fruit curd this week, as it gives you a week to get practising and to perfect the method. Once you have mastered the basic macaroon recipe then there is no end to the flavour combinations that you can get creative with.
Macaroons are light and moreish and therefore make the perfect ending to a romantic meal or a welcome addition to an amorous afternoon tea. I like to serve my macaroons piled into a teacup as this compliments their dainty appearance.
Top macaroon tips
It is worth investing in a silicon baking mat, they are inexpensive but are invaluable in the kitchen.
As soon as the macaroons come out of the oven, pour a little cold water between the baking tray and the silicon mat, this will cool the macaroons instantly and create a crisp bottom.
When you are mixing the meringue mixture into the paste, fold until the eggs whites have completely disappeared into the mixture and then fold for another 30 seconds – the mixture is then ready for piping.
Macaroons store amazingly well in the freezer, just remove them from the freezer a few minutes before you are ready to fill them.
The number of macaroons from a single recipe will depend on how big you make them. Try to pipe the macaroons to a uniform size so that they are easy to pair up when it comes to filling them.
Passion fruit curd
200ml passion fruit juice
200g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
Place the juice, sugar, yolks and eggs in a bain marie and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached 82C.
Leave this mixture to cool down completely.
Place the mixture in a blender with the butter and blend till smooth and shiny.
Store in the fridge
150g egg whites
155g caster sugar
155g ground almonds
155g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Place 75g of the egg whites and all of the caster sugar in a bain marie and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile place the remaining egg whites, the ground almonds and icing sugar into a blender and blend to a paste.
Whip up the egg whites and caster sugar to a meringue.
Fold the meringue into the paste.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
Pipe onto a baking tray lined with a silicon mat.
Leave to dry out at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Bake at 150C for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven to 140C and bake for a further 4 minutes.
To serve: spoon a generous amount of passion fruit curd onto the flat side of half of the macaroons and sandwich them together with the other half.